I haven’t done a WOW post for a while. I’ve tried really hard to make lemonade recently, but it always turns out flat. With all this grey cloud, white cloud, dark rainy cloud business it’s hard not to succumb to SAD – even though the current season was named “summer” a long time ago, I think the UK should have a specific season simply called “grey”. I love that we have long, long days in the summer here in the UK. I love that we can see blue skies from time to time, and white fluffy clouds. But for that, we also have dull grey skies, stormy, blustery rain storms and dismal, chilly nights.
I have been filled with wonder through this year so far though. It did take a while for nature to wake from its slumber in “spring”. But when it did it was relentless. At the first ray of sunshine, green sprouted everywhere. Then there was rain and everything suddenly exploded with vigour. Butterflies flitted in and out of the shrubs, robins darted back and forth hopping excitedly about doing their thing, squirrels stopped anxiously digging up supplies and checking on their dwindling larder stock…
At the beginning of June, I started getting excited. I have a herbaceous peony plant in my garden, and it had sprung up out of the ground again as though overnight. When we moved in a couple of years ago, I didn’t know it existed. Then, a few months afterwards, some stems and leaves appeared out of nowhere. We wondered what this mysterious plant could be. It didn’t seem to be a weed and though lush looking, was decidedly bland with its long rigid stems and waxy dark green leaves. Then one day, I went out into the garden and saw some familiar, tight balls of red fringed green with some pink peeking out. I could not believe it. We had inherited a surprise. My absolute favourite flower.
I only discovered peonies maybe ten years ago? All I remember is that there were some curiously spherical buds for sale at the supermarket. They had lovely firm stems and waxy leaves and were marked down considerably. I put them in a vase when I got home. I was intrigued when they started opening up and revealed a most amazingly soft pink clutch of petals.
But it was the morning when I discovered that small ball had exploded into a huge lush puff of powder pink something like eight times its original size that I was completely smitten. The peony ended up being the star of my wedding bouquet. And that’s me, who isn’t really into powder pink. But this particular pink is deceptive, those petals are seriously resilient with a lovely smooth texture. The mere idea that this small, tightly packed sphere can possibly unfurl into an amazing show of abundance with such a wonderfully calming fragrance still bowls me over.
So you can imagine how special it was for me to discover that, hiding beneath the cold, hard, frosty soil of winter, was this wonderful plant in my garden. Waiting to surprise me. And this year, perhaps due to the strangeness of the seasons so far, there are almost twice as many buds on the plant as last year. I couldn’t help but cut one to take inside to cheer things up. Sometimes I just find myself sitting there staring at it. I am filled with this indescribable amazement and wonder. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me just to see it.
The sun is fighting through the clouds right now. I wouldn’t call it the height of summer, but it sure is good to get some colour outside the window. I am reminded that sometimes we may struggle, sometimes things fall apart, sometimes we fall apart, but we aren’t here alone. When I look at nature, I see that we are not designed to rely upon ourselves. Looking at this flower, in its frailty, God’s design enables it to withstand the cruelty of my secateurs and still bloom to give me such enjoyment of it. I give thanks for where I am right now, in spite of not knowing where I am heading. For what it’s worth, I am also thinking of you all and keeping you in my prayers, especially if you are enduring difficulties however great or small, wherever you may be.
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